RFC Standard for the transmission of IP datagrams on Avian Carriers

Nerd alert: This post contains off-the-charts geek humor. You’ve been warned.

Thanks to my friend who sent me this.

Uber-geeks will recognize “RFC” (yet another TLA) as short for “Request For Comments.” But those with lives normal folks might need an explanation.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has created RFC as a standard for documentation of Internet-related subjects. There is an RFC for just about everything, including:

A lot of RFC’s are standards, but the vast majority of them are not. Almost all of them, though, are painfully dry reads. That said, there are some glaring exceptions.

Take RFC 1149 for example:

Standard for the transmission of IP datagrams on Avian Carriers

Overview and Rational

   Avian carriers can provide high delay, low throughput, and low
   altitude service.  The connection topology is limited to a single
   point-to-point path for each carrier, used with standard carriers,
   but many carriers can be used without significant interference with
   each other, outside of early spring.  This is because of the 3D ether
   space available to the carriers, in contrast to the 1D ether used by
   IEEE802.3.  The carriers have an intrinsic collision avoidance
   system, which increases availability.  Unlike some network
   technologies, such as packet radio, communication is not limited to
   line-of-sight distance.  Connection oriented service is available in
   some cities, usually based upon a central hub topology.

That’s just the overview. Here’s the rest, including my favorite part: the Discussion.

Frame Format

   The IP datagram is printed, on a small scroll of paper, in
   hexadecimal, with each octet separated by whitestuff and blackstuff.
   The scroll of paper is wrapped around one leg of the avian carrier.
   A band of duct tape is used to secure the datagram's edges.  The
   bandwidth is limited to the leg length.  The MTU is variable, and
   paradoxically, generally increases with increased carrier age.  A
   typical MTU is 256 milligrams.  Some datagram padding may be needed.

   Upon receipt, the duct tape is removed and the paper copy of the
   datagram is optically scanned into a electronically transmittable


   Multiple types of service can be provided with a prioritized pecking
   order.  An additional property is built-in worm detection and
   eradication.  Because IP only guarantees best effort delivery, loss
   of a carrier can be tolerated.  With time, the carriers are self-
   regenerating.  While broadcasting is not specified, storms can cause
   data loss.  There is persistent delivery retry, until the carrier
   drops.  Audit trails are automatically generated, and can often be
   found on logs and cable trays.

Security Considerations

   Security is not generally a problem in normal operation, but special
   measures must be taken (such as data encryption) when avian carriers
   are used in a tactical environment.

There are a lot more joke RFC’s on this Wikipedia page.


Programmer / Musician / Soccer Player

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